The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) Chairman, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has disclosed that the employers of a Nigerian student who was beaten to death in the Philippines have been charged with murder, along with five others.
Dabiri-Erewa made the announcement during a Senate Joint Committee on Diaspora,Intergovernmental Affairs and Foreign Affairs investigative hearing on Tuesday.
The deceased, identified only as Ikem, was allegedly brutally murdered by a group of Chinese in the Republic of the Philippines over a minor disagreement with his supervisor.
“They tied his hands up, covered and tied his mouth and beat him until he gave up the ghost”, an eyewitness said in a statement.
According to Dabiri-Erewa, the Nigerian Embassy has informed the Department of Foreign Affairs in the Philippines and also reported the case to the Inspector General of the Philippines National Police.
The Embassy, she added, had maintained regular contact with the line police station at the with a strong directive to go for the investigation.
Dabiri-Erewa said the investigating police team on the case is done with evidence building and presented the case to the Mandaue City prosecuting department for action, which has evaluated it and deemed it fit for murder case filing.
“They have filed the case and issued a warrant of arrest to the boy’s employee and five other suspects; they are charged for murder, human trafficking and operation of illegal business in the Philippines,” Dabiri-Erewa said.
The NiDCOM boss who gave the committee a copy of the pictures of the suspects said the pictures have been forwarded to all exits in the Philippines to prevent them from leaving the country.
She stressed that the case will be held as soon as the major suspect, still at large, is arrested.
Dabiri-Erewa also stated that a viral video by a man posted on social media recently alleging that 250 Nigerians are slated for killing in Ethiopia was totally false and untrue.
On Nigerians in Ethiopian prisons, Dabiri-Erewa says that the official information received is that 160 Nigerians were serving various jail terms under very poor conditions and that over 90 per cent of them were for drug-related offences.
She tells the committees that in order to decongest the prisons, amnesty was granted to them but the majority of them went back and still committed the same crime.
She says that a Memorandum of Understanding was entered into, awaiting the Ministry of Justice in Nigeria to sign its own side of the deal to enable prisoners to swap or to continue their jail terms in their respective countries.
In addition, she explained that most of those caught are those transiting from Addis Ababa to other countries of the world
Other stakeholders who appeared before the committees were Hon. Amb. Enya Francis, Director and consular representing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the sister of the deceased, Blessing Essien; the President of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) Mr John Ogar and Country Representative of the Commonwealth Students Association (CSA), Mr Nwanba Chidubem.
Francis said that the corpse of Essien has not yet been buried because it will cost between N31 million and N35 million to repatriate and bury the corpse in Nigeria, compared to N10 million and N15 million to cremate it in the Philippines.
He added that the cost of keeping the corpse at the funeral home is accruing N30,000 on a daily basis and appealed to the Senate committee to expedite action on the investigation and take appropriate action.
Speaking on behalf of the family of the deceased, Blessings Essien, Ikem’s elder sister, said he was the only son of the family and in line with Igbo tradition, it would be an honour to bring the body back to Nigeria for burial.